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Meet the judges of the Kent Life and Kent on Sunday Food & Drink Awards 2017

PUBLISHED: 15:38 21 August 2017

Food & Drink Awards 2017

Food & Drink Awards 2017


This is your last chance to make your personal nominations in the Kent Life and Kent on Sunday Food & Drink Awards 2017. To help you, read what our judges will be looking for in the 12 diffrent categories.

Ashford International Hotel will be the host venue for this year's awards Ashford International Hotel will be the host venue for this year's awards

Meet the judges

With nominations floding in to the fith Kent Life and Kent on Sunday Food & Drink Awards, meet the judges who have the task of selecting the best of the best after the deadline for nominations of 7 August

Philip Orrell

Category: Product/Producer of the Year

What do you do for a living?

I am Group PR and Media Manager, Hadlow Group and a freelance writer for the Kent Food & Drink Guide.

What will you be looking for?

I want to be able to get a sense and taste of the care, hard work and the sheer love of flavour that has gone into that product. Something that combines both a strong sense of

place and identity – a love for the fantastic abundance of delicious natural ingredients that Kent provides – and a bit of style, fun and originality along the way.

Why are these awards important?

I think it’s vital to have a prominent platform to champion Kent’s world class food and drink producers.

There are some superb local establishments and producers grafting away quietly and modestly in the name of outstanding food and drink.

These people may be the best-kept secret in that region of Kent, but wouldn’t get the wider scale of recognition they deserve if it wasn’t for these awards. Everyone from the fast-expanding family businesses to the local cottage industry phenomenon can be given their moment in the spotlight.

Why should readers make nominations?

I think they owe it to themselves to shout about an outstanding experience they’ve had. If you’ve visited somewhere or sampled a product and love it enough, you’ll want it to be successful – and there is nothing more important or pride-instilling to a business than a satisfied customer’s vote and a great reputation carried further afield.

Matthew Ryde, MNAEA

Category: Customer Service

What do you do for a living?

I’m an Estate Agent.

What will you be looking for?

However good your shop or restaurant looks, however good the produce or clever your website is, however broad-reaching your social media, people remember how you make them feel. Customer service is at the core of success and companies and people who remember that and place it at the core of their business deserve recognition.

Why are these awards important?

I think it’s very important, at county level, to recognise and laud the best businesses and people in an industry. Kent is known as the Garden of England and food is at our core. Our associations with Europe through the centuries mean we have absorbed ideas, techniques and skills that have shaped our food and drink. People should be aware of the opportunity on their doorstep and visitors can also begin to get an idea of the richness and variety they can experience when visiting Kent.

Why should readers make nominations?

We all have our favourite places to shop, dine and drink. We love to make recommendations and this is the opportunity to do so on a grander scale. For those businesses we hold dear to be recognised at county level is an immense boost to their self esteem and growth. Every business loves praise, the thanks that clients give daily, the repeated patronage, all tell businesses they are getting something right. The most wonderful feeling for any person or company is when customers take time out to nominate them for an award. For someone to have gone to that trouble is a mark of respect.

Anna Golding

Category: Independent Food & Drink Retailer

What do you do for a living?

I’m part of the team at K Sports and support the day-to-day operations, look after our customers and work with my colleagues to help promote our multi-sport facility to the local

community and beyond, so we can welcome more visitors to enjoy our fantastic venue. Our Sports Bar, Function Suite and Restaurant all compliment the many sports sections operating out of K Sports.

What will you be looking for?

Presentation and variety of products, friendliness and approachability of staff, a relaxed, non-pressurised environment, good product knowledge and affordability

Why are these awards important?

With so much pressure on independents from large chain stores, it is important that local businesses receive recognition and appreciation from the public. As a local business ourselves, we think Kent stands out as a thriving, collaborative business community; we’re delighted to play a part in celebrating that across this sector.

Why should readers nominate?

As a nation we are so quick to complain but not quite so quick to give positive feedback. This is the readers’ opportunity to thank and promote independent retailers for their contribution to the retail business.

Karen Giles

Category: Newcomer of the Year

What do you do for a living?

I run, with my best friend Kim, Karen & Kim Introductions, Kent’s first introductions agency.

What will you be looking for?

A business or individual bringing something a bit different to Kent’s food and drink scene, combined with attention to cleanliness and presentation, great customer relations and value for money. Fresh, local produce is imperative.

Why are these awards important?

To promote small businesses and make people aware what good places we have to eat and drink in Kent – as opposed to the bigger national companies. I have travelled the world with

my career and eat out on a regular basis, and honestly think we have amazing food here in the county.

Why should readers make nominations?

To make other people aware of the good products, places and service we have here in Kent. This in turn, I believe, helps the local economy and employment. When I was a child, we didn’t need to import so much because it was all here, and now so many farms and orchards are struggling because supermarkets are now importing inferior products. We need to be great again before it’s too late.

Charles Tassell

Category: Farmers’ Market of the Year

What do you do for a living?

I run a family farm consisting of apple, strawberries, cereals and office units in redundant farm buildings.

What will you be looking for?

Markets that stock a full range of products, make you feel welcome, and provide a service and an experience that makes you want to go back to the following market.

Why are these awards important?

All of the Kent Farmers’ Markets are wonderful places to get fresh and seasonal products from people who care about what they produce and sell. The awards are an opportunity to highlight three of the best each year.

Why should readers make nominations?

This category is all about customer service, did you feel the market and the stallholder went that extra mile to make you welcome. Did you really enjoy what you bought? If you nominate a Market, then the answer from you is ‘yes’, which helps us pick our shortlist to judge.

Rachel Holweger

Category: Family Dining Award

What do you do for a living?

I am the Director of Income Generation for ellenor, a charity which provides hospice care for all ages and is the only charity in Kent to be able to provide vital children’s hospice care in the comfort of their own homes – a hugely impacting charity and one so reliant on and grateful to the support and generosity of people across Kent.

What will you be looking for?

I love eating out and while my daughters are now older, I do remember how important it was to find places to eat that were family friendly; warm and welcoming but at the same time offering a great service with delicious food at reasonable prices. There is often a misconception that because you have children with you you have to just have chips! Variety of menu, flexible service, comfortable surroundings and delicious food would be on my list.

Why are these awards important?

I have watched these awards grow year on year. They are a wonderful way to celebrate our eateries in Kent and to support local.

Why should readers nominate?

Kent is a wonderful county with a fantastic array of food and drink places. People should nominate because we are only going to know about these places if they tell us! Help us to celebrate the talent we have in the county!

Dr Sophie Shotter

Category: Independent Café/Tea Room of the Year

What do you do for a living?

I am a medical doctor and run Illuminate Skin Clinic in West Malling – a bespoke medical cosmetic clinic, helping people feel more confident in their own skin.

What will you be looking for?

I’m going to be judging the all-round experience – decor, service, food and drink. I’m looking for delicious rich coffee, a beautiful tea selection, home-made, delicious scones and cakes and use of as many local ingredients as possible.

Why are these awards important?

Kent has such an amazing foodie culture, and these awards help us to acknowledge heroes and discover worthy new places to try. From delicious local food and drink producers to fantastic retailers to superb restaurants and cafes, we have it all on our doorstep. Let’s celebrate it!

Why should readers make nominations?

That fantastic place you love to go that is your absolute favourite – how are we supposed to know about it if you don’t tell us? They also cannot nominate themselves, so if you don’t let us know about it there’s a good chance we won’t be able to go and visit them. Give your favourites a chance to be celebrated and appreciated!

Sarah Sturt

Category: Food & Drink Hero of the Year

What will you be looking for?

An exceptional individual who has made a real difference to the Kent food and drink scene and beyond, someone who has helped put The Garden of England on the map as an exemplar of excellence and quality in this competitive arena.

Why are these awards important?

As a large publishing house, the Archant group of ‘Life’ titles all place great local food and drink at their heart and as the leading paid-for lifestyle magazine in the county, the teams at Kent Life and our sister publication Kent on Sunday believe in celebrating the best of the best.

Why should readers make nominations?

If you readKent Life and Kent on Sunday on a regular basis, you already care about the importance of supporting local farmers and producers. You already want only the best Kentish produce on your table at home and when you go out for a drink or meal or support a local farm shop. Putting that passion into action is simple: just go to our dedicated website kentfda.co.uk and make your nominations in as many categories as you wish. It’s your favourites that will help us select this year’s winners and our 2017 Champion of Champions.

Simon Cannell

Category: Farm Shop of the Year

What you do for a living?

I’m managing director of an artisan bakery in Margate, The Baker’s Bicycle. We are on a mission to convert the nation’s foodies to the sensory and sustainability benefits of frozen, artisan breads.

What will you be looking for?

The key to a successful farm shop is creating an interesting environment to shop and one which promotes great food. The range should be a wide, varied selection of foods from across Kent and beyond, with a focus on quality, which is then merchandised well. I’m a great believer in providing the consumer with as much information as possible about how and where their food is made.

Why are these awards important?

It’s so easy to take the food that we eat for granted. We can just coast through our daily lives, without appreciating the love and hard work that went into providing us with the amazing food we have in Kent. It’s important to occasionally stop and say well done.

Why should readers nominate?

Part of the joy of travelling is to experience local cuisine and across the globe we see the passion there is for regional delicacies. It’s hugely important we do this at home too. Let people know you appreciate their efforts in delivering superb, interesting food experiences.

Victoria Pearson

Category: Restaurant of the Year

What do you do for a living?

I am an accountant at Perrys Chartered Accountants

What will you be looking for?

That is simple: I will be looking for good, wholesome food with a friendly atmosphere and value for money - and that magic ingredient, star quality.

Why are these awards important?

I believe it is important to support local businesses, we are the Garden of England after all. We are lucky to have so much exceptional local produce available within Kent and we should bring awareness of that quality and variety to the readers of Kent Life and Kent on Sunday.

Why should readers make nominations?

I believe we all should support local businesses, if you visit a restaurant and you feel that you have had a great meal combined with great service, then you should give that place the recognition they deserve and in this case take time to make your nomination.

Tony Pratt

Category: Chef of the Year

What do you do for living?

I am a Fine Art auctioneer and valuer, and the owner and manager of The Canterbury Auction Galleries.

What will you be looking for?

A talented individual who can demonstrate their own flair and expertise to produce high-quality dishes, showcasing locally produced and seasonal food.

Why are these awards important?

I think it is really important to reward and celebrate hard work and talent and to give an incentive to those who are striving to produce the very best food and drink from our wonderful Garden of England.

Why should readers make nominations?

It is your opportunity to publically acknowledge and encourage those whom readers are already supporting, or who may not have yet discovered, and to further promote those who are committed to producing a first-class product or service.

Richard Harvey

Category: Pub of the Year

What do you do for a living?

I am a Public Relations Consultant.

What will you be looking for?

A pub that provides a great range of well-kept beers and wines, an excellent food offering, a warm atmosphere, and a real commitment to supporting its community and local producers.

Why are these awards important?

Because Kent increasingly leads the way in providing superlative food and excellent drinks – in my opinion, Kent more than rivals many regions just across the Channel.

Why should readers make nominations?

Everyone needs encouragement and endorsement. Support your local licensee!

What happens next?

The three fialists who have been shortlisted in each category will be informed after the judging panel meets on 11 August 2017. Each judge will then visit the three candidates in their category and make their decision on the 2017 winner.

The 12 winners in each category will be announced at the Kent Life and Kent on Sunday Food & Drink awards taking place on Monday 16 October 2016 at The Ashford International Hotel.



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